Once upon a time in Puglia …
The Novecento Room & Breakfast is located in via Tito Speri number 15, in the heart of the historic city of Massafra, (open in maps) in a building built at the beginning of the last century. Its ancient architecture, of peasant origins, tells the typical needs of the time, such as the “Monacella” style kitchens, the old niches, the terraces, the small gardens, the wells and the numerous arches that rise almost extemporaneously , as if everything were built according to what was needed at the time. With the spirit of those who let themselves be carried away by this ancient simplicity, the entire R & amp; B has been created, a sort of re-enactment, a tribute to that simple lifestyle full of values, made up of people, scents, flavors, of warmth and simple words expressed with a sincere heart. Plates, linen racks, paintings, olive ladders, forks and rakes are transformed into furnishing elements, wooden boxes as shelves, old country doors as headboards, antique sieves as chandeliers, record players, antique radios, dressers, lace and lace they embellish every corner, snatch a smile, rekindle a memory. Novecento offers the unique, unobtainable and unrepeatable experience of returning to a time when the world passed slowly and people could still afford to smile.
Holiday house on two levels, sleeping six, independent kitchen, equipped veranda, bathroom, air conditioning and heating, TV and safe.
Holiday home with a loft with a total of five beds, bathroom, kitchen, air conditioning and heating, TV, safe.
Reserved romantic room, ideal for couples, equipped with double bed, private bathroom, air conditioning, fridge, television and safe.
With its beautiful vaulted ceiling, the Camera Borghese has three beds, independent kitchen, bathroom, air conditioning and TV.
Large and luxurious, the Camera Nobile has three beds, kitchenette with fridge, bathroom, air conditioning, TV and panoramic balcony.
Intimate and welcoming, the Camera Contadina has two beds, bathroom, air conditioning, TV, fridge and panoramic balcony.
Holiday House ‘910
From the scent of the ancient to the whiteness of the walls, the Holiday Apartment 910 is located in the oldest place of the entire structure. The small veranda (former ancient garden) marks the starting point; from this, in fact, through a wooden staircase that has been there for over 100 years, one accessed a room in the old “alcove” (called arùuv) in which basic necessities were hidden: oil, cured meats, legumes, wheat and anything else in order not to pay duty taxes. The house has six beds, including two doubles and a bunk bed, spread over two levels (with mezzanine), an independent kitchen with fridge, a beautiful equipped veranda, private bathroom, air conditioning, TV, heating system and safe.
History of ‘910
The beds, original in their manufacture and creation, are the result of a recovery and assembly work of EPAL EUR platforms used for various transport, which are placed side by side with the old sewing machine from 1910 … and where the gaze opens onto a glimpse of the our rural landscape with olive trees and ripe wheat! Just inside the house, an ancient wrought iron door appears on the wall, typical of the main doors of the 19th century, which has now become the headboard of the main bed of the house, enriched by two large cushions made with jute sacks. The appliqués are made with glass jars covered with raw sack caps, in which the legumes of our lands (white broad beans, beans, lentils etc.) have been placed which, when illuminated, give a touch of originality to the room. The kitchen, complete with hob with adjoining accessible courtyard (equipped with bench and chairs and table), was made with recycled and treated wood; in the front the laying of the ancient brick decorated in pandance concrete is evident with the chandelier made with shells set in wire and colored. The gas cooker in white tin and wooden handles takes us back to a bygone era where it was the heart of the house. Above the shelves of the same floor, you can see an ancient scale with plates dating back to the years 1910-1915 for the weighing of pasta and legumes. The somewhat revisited “plate rack” is completely unique: made from ancient agricultural tools (a wooden shovel and a hay fork) intertwined with jute thread and raw twine from which part of the aluminum cookware dating back to in those years (pans, ladles, colanders, etc). You can also find the ancient “stricatùr-rubbinatoio” striped wooden plank that was used to unload the clothes, reinvented as a breakfast tray. Everything was enriched by orange curtains made on the models of the time, with ribbons and ties for the closures (when the hinges were just a hybrid) that emphasize their simplicity and functionality. In the same holiday home, the bathroom, as well as being equipped with all comforts, is the result of an ad hoc restructuring. The same represented the ancient passage that led from the bedroom to the kitchen. You can also see the point where the passage narrowed where the shower was built today; here too the theme of peasant simplicity returns with the “wooden boxes for transporting fruit” assembled in particular bathroom furniture, the “rake to unravel the straw” which has become the robe hanger, the ceramic “capasella” the basket waste bin. The towel holder was made by placing it horizontally on the wall of an old ladder once used by farmers to reach the highest branches of olive trees, shake them and drop the fruit into the retina for subsequent harvesting. On the mezzanine, made entirely of wood, there is the double bed, also made with EPAL EUR platforms, treated and brought natural, and on which you can touch the ancient vault with your hand; from the center of it unravels a “braid” of raw nets and white linen fabrics that make up the canopy. A green light diffuses into the room that comes from the lamps made with large glass “demijohns” that were used to preserve olives and oil. Adjacent to this, there is a room with a bunk bed assembled in a completely original form with timbers and platforms at the sides of which, as a staircase that allows access to the upper bed, an ancient country staircase has been recovered that served to prune the olive trees. Equipped with every comfort and the right privacy for the guests who occupy it, it is a holiday home where the past, memories and peasant traditions are enhanced by noteworthy details and where the furnishings are essentially based on the recovery of recycled materials. and of ancient objects used for other purposes.
Holiday House ‘920
It is located in the old “stable” of the house, a place used as the residence of the animals and the wagons for transporting the grain. A large entrance door allowed access, now transformed into a large light point in the kitchen. The house has five beds, of which one double and two singles located on the mezzanine, kitchen with stove and sofa bed, bathroom, air conditioning, TV, heating system, safe.
History of ‘920
It is a real dive into the peasant past where as soon as you enter the kitchen you can see the old grandmother’s cupboard (1920s) where you could breathe the scent of freshly baked bread preserved in square cloths; the roof is completely in light wood where the baskets have become special chandeliers. The plate hanging on the wall was obtained from the horizontal cut of an EPAL platform in which there are old ceramic plates, jugs and cups from the early 1900s when they were used as a “common dish for the whole family”. Climbing the stairs to go to the sleeping area, small squares appear that frame the canvases where you can admire glimpses of the historical monuments of Massafra. The bathroom was born on the ancient cistern-well attached to the house (now brought to light: on the bottom of the same a large tromp-ail has been placed that reproduces the water of the stream), on the ceiling you can see a lantern from the years’ 20 that acts as a chandelier and a box of old ammunition that becomes a soap dish. Opening the bedroom door you can see the pure white of the Fiandre blankets and the headboard obtained from the portals of a chicken coop set in the wall and completed by an old iron door from the 1920s, immediately give an idea of what recovery means. and recycling; this, especially if you look at the desk and bench obtained from the headboard and footboard of a wrought iron bed called “crstìdd”. On the mezzanine you can see the two single beds adorned with crocheted blankets with lace and a small bedside table obtained from the restoration of an old crate for the transport of the “Dreher beer”. The color points are given by the wool shawls that the grandmothers used to heat during the winter months and that surround a scenario completely suspended in time !!
Camera Romantica ‘930
It is the room on the mezzanine level of the ancient vault that surrounded the stable below. Its construction is the result of a particular work of architecture and engineering carried out in order to maintain the original appearance of the same while giving it an added value.
The room has two beds (double bed), bathroom, air conditioning, TV, refrigerator, safe.
History of ‘930
Set in a triduum of arches and centuries-old vaults, the imposing and completely wooden bed with very high tread and headboard is the central point of the room. It is even more enhanced by the embroidery of the bedspread, enriched with lace and laces and placed on parquet, dates back to the 1930s and later. The remains of the secular vault have been brought back to face, giving life to a large natural shelf on which a palette of bright colors of the fields in bloom displays. Passing through an opening in the vault (you cross the heart of the vault) you enter the anteroom where an interweaving of pastel-colored leaves and flowers comes to life on the front wall, enriched with an oval bronze mirror and an Old England style washbasin. Entering the bathroom, a particular mosaic shower is completely obtained from the ancient vault !! All this gives the room a particular and comfortable intimacy that makes it particularly suitable for romantic evenings and stays of a thousand and one nights.
Camera Borghese ‘940
Upstairs there is a real suite from the year 1940 and in absolute high-bourgeois style of the time. The shades of amaranth color are recalled in every detail: from the bedspread to the curtain, from the chandelier to the overcoat and where the eyes inevitably fall on the decorations of the concrete bricks of the bedroom, left in the original pose. The room has three beds, including a double bed and a sofa bed located in the same room, independent kitchen complete with hob and fridge, bathroom, air conditioning, TV.
History of ‘940
Bedside tables and bed are the result of a painstaking restoration work as well as the “wardrobe curtain” made with recycled wood material and adorned with a macramé lace curtain with an ancient flavor. If, then, you look up you stay fascinated by the exposed vaulted ceiling completely restored and enhanced by an ancient hand-painted ceramic chandelier. There is no shortage of collectibles to delight the eyes and mind of those who stay there, such as the ancient “comb” equipped with silver brushes and magazines of the time. A delight for those who will occupy it! Even the bathroom is not without particularity and comfort sui generis, such as the large two-seater shower. The shield mirror in gilded brass, the appliques and the pandance chandelier, are the result of an antique research such as the robe hook made from an antique brass hat rack with curls in relief. The fruit boxes painted in white and adorned with lace thus become details and apienti towel holder, as well as the white wrought iron tripod used as a sink with basin and tin jug. The kitchen is also a real gem! From the table to the plate rack, from the hob completely made with recycled material to the furniture for cutlery and cookware, all absolutely unique and particular in terms of genre and realization. At the top right shows an old “Minerva” television completely emptied and used as a frame for a picture with an Apulian landscape of centuries-old olive trees. On the left there is an EPAL EUR platform plate with copper and brass ladles and cookware dating back to the early 1900s. In short, seeing the sunlight filter through the windows with amaranth curtains gives the room an aura of magic perfectly suited to any type of stay.
Camera Nobile ‘950
This room remembers the impressive royal bedrooms. The gold color predominates in the curtains and furnishings. The canopy placed on the bed gives the room an almost “royal” importance! The furnishings, especially the chest of drawers and bedside tables, have been restored and finished following meticulously the workmanship of the time. We are in 1950 when turntables and radios appear and these, original and fully functional, accompanied by a wide selection of discs, welcome guests and wish them a wonderful stay. The room has three beds, including a double bed and a sofa bed located in the same room, small stove with fridge, bathroom, air conditioning, TV, panoramic balcony.
History of ‘950
The old vaulted ceiling and a retro-style chandelier complete a very special optical effect and … .. while walking on a concrete floor with very rare and absolutely refined decorations, one is fascinated by the imposing light that transpires from the panoramic balcony on the historic center. The kitchenette, located in the same room, remains discreet and almost invisible to the eye by a precious divider drapery. Entering the bathroom you can admire the resonance of the gold-ocher color on the walls and you can admire natural-colored fruit crates filled with the pure white of the towels; the shield mirror and the ceramic appliques enhance its refinement and taste in the restructuring of antiques.
Camera Contadina ‘960
It seems to enter the old song by Domenico Modugno from 1960 “In the blue painted blue”, because all the details, the furnishings, the curtains, are the color of the sea and the sky that distinguishes our land, just a few steps from the coast Jonico is so fertile and welcoming. The room has a double bed, bathroom, air conditioning, TV, fridge, panoramic balcony.
History of ‘960
Even in this room, the past can already be smelled behind the entrance door and then rediscovered in the colorful checked blankets worked by our grandmothers and tied by hand “tile by tile”, to the colored boxes hung to become towel racks and many other details. Nothing is left to chance, everything in the room is treated with a pinch of love and is very reminiscent of the “Capri” style.
The R&B Novecento was born in the historic center of Massafra, an area rich in natural and monumental beauties, home of the rock civilization, full of city curiosities and traditions to be experienced throughout the year.
Entering the alleys and streets of the old city, in fact, you can reach the Cathedral of San Lorenzo (which still preserves eighteenth-century paintings of considerable value), the ancient square of the clock, the majestic castle as well as discovering numerous ” goodies “that the territory offers. Numerous churches and convents, among which it is worth mentioning an original and perfectly preserved Benedictine convent, an ancient convent of Capuchin friars, the famous sanctuary of the Madonna della Scala set on the precipice of a beautiful ravine, the numerous caves home of the rock civilization, among which the famous cave of the Magician Greguro (the ancient pharmacist of the community) and several crypts also dug into the rock and used as places of worship, still rich in original and perfectly preserved frescoes.
The location of the twentieth century is ideal for fully experiencing the richness of the ancient village, a stone’s throw from the many restaurants of the city, equipped with a suggestive panoramic terrace, coveted by all guests of the structure to immortalize their experience.
The city of Massafra and its ravines
The Gravine, long and winding crevasses that furrow the limestone soil of Puglia, often offer breathtaking scenery. Many places recognize themselves to such an extent in this amazing phenomenon that they have formed an urban wall grafted into the territorial conformation, often joined by bridges and roads created ad hoc. This constitutes a real natural park for speleologists and a great cultural wealth for all tourists and residents.
Known all over the world, Massafra is deeply linked to its ravines and above all to that of the Madonna della Scala which extends for over 4 km., Dotted with caves, aromas, perfumes and a unique vegetation, rich in over six hundred plants, many of which officinal and medical. In the tuff of the ravines, in an attempt to find shelter and safety, people dug caves and made them homes. Thus the rock villages were born, among which the most famous is the one where the cave of Mago Greguro is born: a complex of 12 intercommunicating caves with working benches inside and about 300 niches used as shelves on which to store potions.
The territory of Massafra includes about 30 rock churches, also known as Byzantine crypts, datable between the 4th and 15th centuries AD, of considerable iconographic and architectural interest. The main crypts are: Buona Nuova, San Marco, Candelora, San Leonardo, Sant’Antonio.
In 1500 it was inhabited by the Pappacoda family who restored the ancient building and enriched the structure with new bastions and walls. In the 17th and 18th centuries it belonged to the Imperial family.
Currently the castle is home to the Municipal Library and the Civic Archaeological Museum of the Oil and Wine Civilization which can be visited all year round.
Folklore, popular religiosity and traditions
It is the main annual appointment. The Massafra Carnival, now in its 60th edition, has deep roots and is lost in the mists of time. The Massafrese Carnival is completely atypical compared to the others that take place on the Italian territory. It represents a winning mix of carnival events and impressive parades of allegorical papier-mâché floats.
The rites of the Holy Week represent for the city of Massafra a set of popular religious events that are very engaging from a spiritual point of view. All citizens and high political offices participate in religious events following the processions that plunge between dirt roads and lush ravines that highlight the feeling of faith and that linked to its traditions.
Massafra is also culinary traditions linked to the simplicity of the products used for the most typical preparations. Like the typical Apulian orecchiette seasoned with fresh tomato sauce, basil and ricotta cheese from the surrounding farms; or the pizzicarieddi (small dumplings) topped with local pecorino and spicy ricotta. Or dairy products such as: mozzarella, scamorze, caciocavalli, burratine.
The City of Taranto
Taranto has an ancient heart that beats between the two seas (Mar Piccolo and Mar Grande) and has earned it the nickname “City of the two Seas”. Always one of the most important base of the Navy, Taranto lives in close relationship with the sea which is the dominant feature of the city.
The majestic Ponte Girevole is its symbol, which connects the island of the old town to the new city by crossing the canal that connects Mar Grande to Mar Piccolo. It is opened periodically, by rotating the two halves on one side, to allow the passage of large military ships. Next to the swing bridge, in the old part, stands the Aragonese Castle, a great defense work. Taranto old is perched on an island that is connected to the new city by means of two bridges and entering the ancient heart of the city you discover the magic of very narrow alleys and bright squares, the architectural elegance of houses and streets through which it is It is possible to reach the Romanesque Cathedral of San Domenico with a Byzantine crypt.
The City of Martina Franca
Martina Franca, an elegant town nestled on one of the last southern hills of the south-eastern Murgia, dominates the enchanting Valle d’Itria, a splendid green expanse of white trulli.
The main attraction of the city is undoubtedly constituted by the characteristic historical center, which presents itself to the visitor in a spectacular maze of alleys and enchanting streets, where the splendid Baroque art winds and on which there are valuable mansions with stupendous wrought iron balconies ( to mention Palazzo Ducale), delightful and ancient churches (the basilica of San Martino, patron saint of the city, and the church of San Domenico) and characteristic open spaces. In addition to a rich landscape dotted with ancient “casedde”, the famous trulli and the typical buildings of the farms, precious evidence of industrial archeology, Martina Franca enjoys a vast karst area encircled by suggestive caves. From its strategic position, the city offers visitors a suggestive overview of the neighboring towns, beyond which the province of Brindisi and Bari stretches and, even beyond, the Adriatic Sea. Martina Franca also offers the enchanting Parco delle Pianelle, and towards green landscapes, to the south, dotted with vast vineyards, offering small oases of peace and tranquility for tourists. Martina Franca is therefore a very popular tourist destination also for its cultural vivacity, which finds its maximum expression in the now famous Festival of the Itria Valley born in 1975, which has always been the flagship of the city’s cultural activity.
The Trulli of Alberobello
The extraordinary town of Alberobello is one of the most unique inhabited centers in the world, which has become a UNESCO World Heritage Site thanks mainly to the presence of its picturesque trulli (there are more than 1000).
The trullo is a characteristic house of peasants or artisans, built with dry stone walls, on which a cone-shaped dome rises, closed by a pinnacle and covered, always dry, with concentric and sloping rows of smooth gray slabs local stone, called chiancarelle. The itinerary through which to discover the most suggestive alleys and corners of the capital of the Trulli, as well as its monuments and museums, starts from the Belvedere Terrace. Here the visitor, enjoying a splendid view of the historic center, dominated by cone roofs embellished with mysterious symbols drawn with lime, will immediately feel that he is in a city that is unique in the world. The route continues with a visit to the historic center of the Aia Piccola district, consisting of about 400 trulli, for the most part still used as homes. In the Aia Piccola, we also find the Museum of Crafts of Old and New Professions, where you can admire tools and instruments of the artisan culture of our land and the Oil Museum. Continuing in the historic center you then reach the House of Love, a monument declared a World Heritage Site, which is the first house built with the use of mortar and without the classic trullo shape. From here you can also reach the Minor Basilica dedicated to Saints Cosma and Damiano. Behind the church, there is the Trullo Sovrano, which represents the most advanced example of a trullo on two floors, in which, among hearths, kitchen tools and looms, you can still breathe the atmosphere of the past. Of particular importance in the historic center is also the Monti district, which has more than 1000 trulli arranged in seven different streets of incomparable beauty. Among these to mention are the Siamese Trulli, particular for their double shape. Here the visitor will be attracted by the skill of the numerous artisans who enliven the neighborhood with their shops until late in the evening.
The City of Matera: i Sassi
Over the years the city of Matera continues to arouse amazement and to emerge for its landscape, according to many, enchanted. Matera, declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1993, has been defined as unique in the world for its configuration and its contrasting landscapes.
The Sasso Barisano, turned north-west on the edge of the cliff, the fulcrum of the old city, is the richest in sculpted portals and friezes that hide its underground heart. The Sasso Caveoso, which instead faces south, is arranged like a Roman amphitheater, with cave-houses that descend in steps, and perhaps takes its name from the quarries and classical theaters. In the center is the Civita, a rocky spur that separates the two Sassi, on the top of which is the Cathedral Basilica. Matera is the city of caves, entrenched villages, peasant houses carved into the rock, over 120 rock churches with Byzantine frescoes and great Romanesque-Apulian and Baroque churches, among which to mention the rock Church of the Holy Spirit, the Church of San Domenico and the church of San Giovanni Battista. It is the city that geologically recalls ancient Jerusalem and Cappadocia. It was the destination of many peoples and their masterpieces, but continues to be the destination of great actors and directors who find in Matera a suitable place to shoot their films. A place that has always been inhabited, where it is easy to retrace the history of Man from the Palaeolithic to today, from the Neolithic villages to the vast urban fabric of Civilization and the Sassi, where man has been able to use the scarce resources of the territory without destroying it, but integrating with them.
The similarities with Salento: Territory and Traditions
Sea, sun and nature in an overwhelming rhythm. The vital energy of Salento involves and fascinates, making the tourist the protagonist of an unforgettable holiday.
Like Salento, the entire province of Taranto, a land of landings and departures, has been experiencing a surprising cultural awakening in recent years thanks to the re-evaluation and enhancement of its traditions and its history, for the benefit of sustainable, genuine, completely invasive tourism. , in tune with the growing demand for a real dimension and still able to offer non-homologating or artificial experiences and sensations but in contact with an ancient and complex culture, but always pervaded by the strong spirit of hospitality of the citizens of the province of Taranto.
Southern Italy: Puglia and its excellent cuisine.
The Apulian cuisine is simple, linked above all to the work of the land, which has elaborated typical dishes with many flavors and aromas. The cornerstones of this gastronomy:
Oil – Wheat – Vegetables – Milk and derivatives – Fish – Citrus fruits – Vineyards.
EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL FROM APULIA
Starting from the Adriatic coast to the hinterland, Puglia is cloaked in splendid olive groves. The secular trees with their wide and dense foliage rise like monuments of nature from the ground, while the trunks, firmly anchored to the earth and often wrapped around themselves, express all their absolute uniqueness of strength and fruit. They are, in fact, the giants from which the absolute raw material of Apulian cuisine is obtained and now known throughout the world as EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL.
THE GRAINS OF PUGLIA
Since Roman times, Puglia was defined as the granary of Italy, and here the tasty cereal has proved capable of becoming the foundation stone of an entire culinary culture, becoming indispensable in most of the typical recipes of the area. The main areas of wheat development in Puglia, concentrate within them cultivable fields capable of spreading out as far as the eye can see, reminding each visitor of an ancient and bucolic panorama, that of the classic mills that work hard to create a tasty and delicious flour. a tasty and delicious flour, while the plantations grow tirelessly and with a bright yellow color.
Pasta has had the opportunity to shape entire lifestyles, a poor dish by definition but representative par excellence of the whole Italian state. Currently hundreds of housewives create their dough by hand, giving life to hundreds of orecchiette and many other varieties of pasta every day made by hand , daughter of a flour polished by durum wheat that embraces the whole of Puglia. But also focaccia, pizza, bread, are all dishes that find their origin in the ductile cereal.
THE APULIAN TARALLI.
Unmissable on Apulian tables, Apulian taralli or Apulian scaldatelli are an excellent aperitif accompanied perhaps by a glass of red wine or a snack for a delicious break in the office. Their combination with cold cuts and cheeses is also very popular.
Typical of the regional gastronomic tradition , the most popular recipe is still the homemade one. Handmade by grandmothers with simple ingredients, taralli can be flavored to your liking according to tastes or desires for experimentation: onion, chilli, olives, fennel, pumpkin, poppy seeds, dried tomatoes and much more. The possible variants are many.
The important thing to obtain a good result is to follow step by step what is suggested in the original recipe for homemade Apulian taralli. The preparation is simple, but obviously your dexterity in making them.
THE APULIAN FOCACCIA.
There is no doubt that one of the typical dishes of Apulian gastronomy most appreciated by the Apulians themselves and by tourists who flock to our region especially in summer is definitely focaccia. You may be thinking “of course, but focaccia is made all over Italy, not only in Puglia” … sure, but the Apulian focaccia with potatoes is a whole other thing, seeing is believing.
An excellent dish to accompany meals or replace them on a day at the beach, perhaps accompanied by provolone and mortadella. It is said that these ingredients are “the death of focaccia”, that is the most suitable to be associated with this product, but obviously everyone decides to fill it to their liking. The preparation of the dish has a medium difficulty, but do not be afraid, follow our recipe and you will be able to prepare and enjoy an excellent and crunchy Apulian focaccia. It may not be like buying it in a Bari bakery, but the result will certainly be to your liking.
HANGING TOMATOES: THE ‘NZERT.
It is part of the Apulian culinary tradition, of those that have an origin that is lost in time, which has been handed down for generations and which tells a little about this extraordinary land, its colors, its scents, its simple life with a peasant vocation.
These are the “hanging tomatoes”, a typically Apulian way of preserving tomatoes, which allows them to be tasted even in the winter months, a bit like preserves and salsa . It is also the hanging tomatoes that have become part of the common imagination when it comes to Puglia. Hanging tomatoes are also called with the dialect word “La’nzerta”, coming from the rural world and indicating one of the healthiest and most versatile preservation methods, typical of Mediterranean cuisine.
THE MOZZARELLA OF PUGLIA.
Puglia is a region particularly specialized in the production of mozzarella which, thanks to its versatility, lends itself well to being eaten plain and at room temperature or as part of richer and more elaborate dishes. Famous throughout the world for its spheroid or cuboid shape and its unforgettable flavor, mozzarella – also known as fiordilatte mozzarella – is the main ingredient of a multitude of recipes. Mozzarella is a fresh and soft stretched curd cheese, with a long tradition and typical of the Mediterranean basin, due to the warm climates that have led to exploit the rapid acidification of milk and the relative coagulation necessary for its production.
THE APULIAN CACIOCAVALLO.
Caciocavallo is an ancient cheese, whose origins are to be found in different areas of southern Italy, where it is produced in different varieties that give it a particular taste. So let’s try to learn more about this tasty dairy product from the lands of our South, identifying the characteristics that allow it to be distinguished from other cheeses.
It is an uncooked stretched curd cheese, the production of which takes place – in the present – almost exclusively using cow’s milk: as an alternative to the latter, but to a very limited extent, buffalo milk is used. What immediately distinguishes this cheese from many other equally famous dairy products, is certainly its shape comparable to that of a pear.
Burrata is a fresh stretched curd cheese, produced in Puglia, in the Murge area and in particular in Andria, his hometown. Although it resembles mozzarella, its texture is much softer and more stringy. Cloud-shaped, white, smooth and soft, burrata quickly became popular throughout Italy and then in the world, as one of the tastiest and most recognizable typical products of the rich Apulian culinary tradition.
it looks like a small bag of spun paste, white and shiny, about 2 mm thick. This hand-made bag contains a soft “frayed” heart of spun dough and cream called stracciatella. The name is not accidental and derives from the method of preparation, with which the pasta filata is “torn” by hand to form pieces (lucini) of irregular shape and length.
MUSSELS OF TARANTO (MYTHILS AND FISH)
Their breeding takes place by means of long chestnut wood poles (today often replaced by iron poles) embedded in the seabed and protruding from the surface of the water for about one meter; between the poles are stretched ropes of vegetable fiber. The rests are hung from these ropes, inside which the juveniles or small mussels of one or two cm are placed.
The production of Taranto’s mussels takes about fourteen months of waiting, starting from November with the preparation of the so-called beds, that is the rope grids. In March the beds are removed and the mussels carefully cleaned. At the end of March, the mussels are spread out in the sun to eliminate any microbes and proceed with the first grafting. Throughout the production cycle, grafting takes place 4-5 times. Around May or June the Taranto mussels are almost adult and therefore ready to be distributed on national and foreign markets. Before reaching the markets, however, the mussels are checked in the laboratory, purified and then packaged in special factories that guarantee freshness and wholesomeness. What makes Taranto mussels particularly appreciated on the international market scene is their intense and fragrant taste, a characteristic that is given to them by the presence, in the Mar Grande and Mar Piccolo, 60 meters deep, of about thirty-four sources of water. sweet of karst origin called citri which continuously introduce fresh water. The presence of citrus in fact determines conditions of low salinity, ideal for the metabolism of mussels. You can recognize the Taranto mussels immediately: the fruit is white-pink, with a scent of iodine and crystalline sea, with a full and sweet taste.
The frying of fish also takes the name of frying of paranza which derives from the type of fishing done with boats that practice trawling, or dragging the nets from the bottom: these typical boats are called paranze.
This type of fishing is very common in Puglia where, as you can imagine, a good frying of paranza is never lacking at home as in the restaurants that prepare the majority of typical Apulian dishes such as fish soup and other tasty recipes. Mixed fried fish can be found already prepared in the fish market stalls and in Puglia it includes different varieties of fresh fish from local, poor and small cuts. In Apulian fried seafood, fish such as mullet (small), molluscs such as cuttlefish, squid cut into rings and squid, and crustaceans such as shrimps must never be lacking.
CITRUS FRUITS OF APULIA.
The southern sun has always helped the cultivation of citrus fruits, so the countryside of the Apulian hinterland is painted with the warm and bright tones of citrus groves. The areas in which it is easier to come across their scents and colors are certainly those of the Taranto province, among which, the most important for the massive production and export are for example Palagiano, Massafra, Ginosa and Castellaneta. Suffice it to say that in territories like these, the areas dedicated to citrus groves exceed 7,000 hectares, in a nutshell, alone are enough to cover 80% of the entire production throughout Puglia.
Among the numerous types of citrus fruits that manage to find fertile soil and above all a greater diffusion in Puglia are the Washington, Moro and Tarocco oranges. The common mandarins suffered a moment of decline in interest due to the enormous offer, however the Clementines of the Gulf of Taranto were very appreciated, also awarded the DOP mark in 2003. This variety was much preferred to other types of mandarins and mandaranci especially because they are bigger, with juicy pulp and the total absence of seeds and seeds inside! Lemon is widely cultivated, produced and exported, especially in the Monachello, Interdonato and Femminiello varieties, easily available in the Gargano area.
Whoever crosses the Apulian territory today can only see what remains of an ancient cultivation system linked to the fig tree, but can still see, by paying attention, the signs of a rural landscape closely linked to this species; witness of a traditional culture now in abandonment we find it associated with olive trees, almond trees but also with vegetable crops, and still in sparse fig groves along the coastal areas of the lower and upper Salento, on the Murge, in the Piana di Bari, in the vast Foggia table.
Both the Ionian and the Adriatic coasts offer in this sense all the signs of an archaic environment, where the fig is still part of its old landscape, albeit fragmented by the many buildings and the “new green” of questionable ornament. Right between the spaces left alive and motionless, among the white rocks of the cliff, there are rock constructions that had a lot to share with the fig tree. The furnieddhi, ancient dry stone ovens for cooking figs, mantagnate, dry stone walls built to protect the plants from the salty wind along the coast or from cold winds in the hinterland, spase, littere, piles of minute stones used for drying on dry herbs or reed racks. Within the small plots of land we find ficazzani, white and black culummi, maranciana and above all rizzeddha, resistant to the extreme conditions of the coast and here the absolute master of the varieties to be dried; even more than the omnipresent doctorate who flees from here in search of better land in the Apulian hinterland.
Grapes are one of the most extraordinary products that our beautiful land of Puglia offers us. We consume it with pleasure both in its table version and for vinification, giving life to wines that every year become more and more protagonists of the wine scene not only in Italy but also internationally.
Just think that just a few weeks ago, the pop star Madonna celebrated a rosé wine from Puglia in one of his tweets sent directly from his bathtub! But let’s get to us. In Puglia there are also many allochthonous vines, that is, not native to this region, but which find here an ideal habitat to grow and mature conveniently. Let’s mention a few: Malvasia, Verdeca, Susumaniello, Ottavianello, Bianco d’Alessano, Verdeca. Even if grapes are the undisputed queen in terms of winemaking, you should know that here in Puglia they also find other uses. An exceptional product is the cooked must, also called Vincotto or in Salento cuettu. It is excellent on ice cream, on junket, on meat, as a garnish for desserts and much more. A classic use is to serve vincotto with pittule, exquisite balls of bread dough fried in boiling oil.
NATIVE WINES: NEGROAMARO, NERO DI TROIA, PRIMITIVO.
Negroamaro is a purely Salento and very ancient vine. It seems to have been brought here between the eighth and seventh centuries BC by the Greeks. If in Latin “niger” means black, also in Greek “mavrus” means black: the etymology therefore leaves no room for interpretation!
Its grapes are black and the bunch is small and compact. It is a very heat resistant plant, and this explains why it thrives so well in this extreme strip of land of our beautiful country. Its skins are rich in polyphenols. It is used for the production of red wines but also of pleasant rosé wines, both alone and in combination with other grape varieties.
Black of Troy.
Also called Uva di Canosa, Nero di Troia seems to have Hellenic origins, like negroamaro. It seems that Diomede, Ulysses’s best friend, arrived in present-day Puglia following the war and has brought with him some examples of this vine. However, some scholars hypothesize that the vine in question already existed in the area and that the local populations (Dauni) were perfectly able to make wine from it. Nero di Troia is a grape variety that grows indigenous to all of central-northern Puglia. There are two varieties, called biotypes, that of Canosa (or Ruvo) and that of Barletta. Among the Apulian autochthonous vines, Nero di Troia is the last to reach maturity: the harvest takes place at the end of October: the risks are not lacking, as the climate, for that period of the year, could reserve unpleasant surprises. As far as winemaking is concerned, in the past, the presence of considerable quantities of tannins in its skins was obviated by creating a blend (or a mix) with Montepulciano vines. Recently, however, behind the need and the will to affirm the identity of the Puglia region on the wine market, an attempt was made to produce as little blend as possible and to develop a 100% Nero di Troia wine, an experiment that we can define very well. succeeded.
It too is indigenous to Puglia and almost exclusively present in Puglia. It was an Apulian priest from Gioia del Colle who studied this vine in the eighteenth century and assigned it the name of Primitivo . Unlike Nero di Troia, the primitive is the first to mature, and this explains his name. Moreover, you will be intrigued to know that in the United States of America there is a vine almost identical to Primitivo, called Zinfandel. But it doesn’t end there: even in Croatia there seem to be some genetically identical vines to Primitivo. In general, it is worth knowing that Primitivo is a fairly delicate variety, as it is prone to mold and not very resistant to drought, as well as to frosts. Its clusters are generously sugary, therefore the primitivo always produces vines with a fairly high alcohol content. Therefore, it has always been used as a “blending” wine and sent elsewhere in Italy or Europe to create a blend. Recently, however, the Apulian taste for indigenous varieties has been rediscovered and, thanks to the region’s desire for affirmation in the international wine scene, absolutely noteworthy pure wines have been created.
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